Back in June, the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) expressed relief with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to propose a 12-month delay–until August 17 next year–for FBOs to submit amended oil-spill-prevention plans, and until Feb. 18, 2006, for FBOs to implement the plans. In even better news for FBOs facing leakage issues, on August 6 the EPA announced plans for an 18-month extension of the compliance dates for the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) amendment originally approved in July 2002. NATA explained (unfortunately in language best interpreted by a lawyer, or an author of FARs) the following: Under terms of the extension, “a facility that was in operation (or one that became subject to the rule) on or before Aug. 16, 2002, may maintain its [current] SPCC plan but must amend it, if necessary, to ensure compliance with the new rules on or before Feb. 17, 2006, and must implement the amended SPCC plan as soon as possible but no later than Aug. 18, 2006. A facility that becomes operational (or becomes subject to the rule) between Aug. 16, 2002, and Aug. 18, 2006, and could be expected to have a discharge [spill or leak] as described in the rule, must prepare an SPCC plan on or before Aug. 18, 2006, and fully implement it as soon as possible, but no later than [that date].” According to NATA, the 18-month extension was to become effective upon publication in the Federal Register, scheduled near the end of last month.
An NATA spokesman said it is important to note that the EPA has taken the position that this extension is not applicable to mobile refuelers (fuel trucks), although the agency recognizes that the rule needs clarification. A group of aviation organizations known as the Aviation Coalition (including NATA) has had discussions with the EPA regarding this issue and is seeking clarification about the applicability of the rule to mobile refuelers. The EPA is expected to issue guidance on this matter soon, which will help direct airports and tenants on how to comply with these requirements.